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Alcoholic mooncakes gaining popularity in recent years

SINGAPORE – Being a nation of foodies, one of the most exciting things about the Mid-Autumn festival rolling round is that it is mooncakes galore in Singapore. From hotels to high-end Chinese restaurants to old-school bakeries, many get over the moon with these delicious pastries.

SINGAPORE – Being a nation of foodies, one of the most exciting things about the Mid-Autumn festival rolling round is that it is mooncakes galore in Singapore. From hotels to high-end Chinese restaurants to old-school bakeries, many get over the moon with these delicious pastries.

And while new – and sometimes ambitious – flavours seem to be introduced every year, one that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the alcohol mooncake – from Guinness to champagne to infusions involving other types of alcohol.

Goodwood Park Hotel introduced a Gin Pineapple snow skin mooncake last year and, this time, they have crafted two new flavours: the Apple Cider Snowskin Mooncake is a mildly-alcoholic creation dotted with diced apples that boasts a refreshing flavour that is a balance of sweet and tangy; and the Root Beer Snowskin Mooncake that has root beer as a base and an added boost of flavour with vanilla beans and a tinge of rum.

Pastry chef Joe Tan revealed that they’ve been “very well-received so far as many customers like the twist we have put in this year’s selection”.

“Our popular fruit-based snow skin mooncakes have been the mainstay over the years and we wanted to put a spin on this traditional treat by combining fruits and alcohol, some of which pair very well such as pineapple and gin, and apple with cider,” he explained.

Annual Additions

Conrad Centennial Singapore is also offering flavours with an alcoholic touch for the second year running. Last year, it introduced the Champagne Strawberry and Rum & Raisin flavours. This year, there’s the Gin & Tonic mooncake.

“The base of the mooncake is white lotus and this has been flavoured with tonic and orange peel to create the ‘tonic’ element of the mooncake,” explained Ferne Yap, the hotel’s director of marketing communications. “The gin element comes from a dry Gin Chocolate Truffle, and we’re using Tanqueray gin for this.”

For Grand Hyatt Singapore, it first introduced alcoholic mooncakes five years ago when they experimented with the champagne truffle mooncake. It was so popular that they added another alcoholic variant the following year – the lychee martini mooncake. This was a play on the hotel’s popular martini bar, where the lychee martini is its best-selling beverage, and the mooncake version also sold extremely well, according to the hotel.

“We typically drop the least-selling mooncake of a year and replace it with an alcoholic mooncake the next year,” said Gottfried Schuetzenberger, Grand Hyatt Singapore’s executive pastry chef. “We now also have the mao tai dark chocolate truffle as well as the strawberry lime tequila mooncakes in our stable of snowskin creations.”

“Based on what customers choose, we know that alcoholic mooncakes are more popular than the non-alcoholic ones,” he added.

This year’s new flavours include Strawberry-Lime-Tequila Truffle and Violette & Gin. Once again, inspiration comes from one of its bars – the hotel opened a gin and tonic bar this year and a favourite among customers is the Tanquery No.TEN gin. This gin has been used to combine with violette “as they harmonise very well together”, said Mr Schuetzenberger.

Not Just A Fad

Then there’s Raffles Singapore, with its Signature Champagne Truffle and Ganache Snow-Skin Mooncake, as well as a returning favourite, the Raffles Cognac Truffle. Champagne truffles are a signature item at the hotel, so when it began retailing mooncakes in the early 1990s, one of its pastry chefs was inspired to use them as the main component for a snow skin mooncake. They remain popular and, even as the hotel undergoes its three-phased restoration programme this year, it continues to sell its mooncakes.

“Over the years, our chefs have developed new and innovative mooncake flavours using both alcoholic components such as cognac, Irish whisky and coffee liqueur, as well as other ingredients such as Earl Grey Tea and mother-of-pearl powder in our traditional baked mooncakes, amongst others,” said Andreas Wieckenberg, executive assistant manager, food & beverage.

But it is not just hotels that are adding alcohol to their mooncakes. Popular art boutique cafe chain The Connoisseur Concerto (tcc) has been selling a Baileys-flavoured mooncake, which has been one of its bestsellers for the past three years.

This year, together with this Bailey’s Amore mooncake, there are three other flavours with alcohol – Grand Marnier Orange Peel, Cherie Brandy and Zesty Yuzu Bacardi.

So why have such mooncakes become so popular? Mr Schuetzenberger believes this is not a fad: “The answer is simple: alcohol is often perceived as premium, and we only use quality alcohol for our mooncakes. Also, alcoholic mooncakes are unusual and not run-of-the-mill and people like that.

“Liquors like wine and champagne are also often served when you have a celebration, and people get together to make merry and honour the mid-autumn festival every year so that is fitting as well,” he added.

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